Thursday, 18 December 2014

From Curt - 28mm Early Imperial Roman Officers (30 Points)

Here are six Imperial Roman officer-types that I’ve done up for an upcoming skirmish game I have planned for the guys. I think they are a mix of Centurions and Optios. To be clear, I’m not very knowledgeable with this period so the specialists out there will have to cringe and forgive me for my Hollywood 'swords-and-sandals' interpretation of their uniforms and kit. 

These are a mix of 28mm Foundry and Warlord miniatures. Very nice sculpts on the whole, though the Warlord castings required some careful cleaning to get them looking respectable before priming.

Painting went reasonably well, but then came the shield decals… Oh. My. God. First I have to come clean by stating that I always seem to have a problem with decals. They stick to nothing except my fingers, they tear apart, they get bubbles, they float away... the list goes on and on. Also, I made the mistake of tying to make use of some old decals I had picked up from Foundry years ago. They are the old style, you know, with the cut-outs for the central shield boss and the artwork applied to one sheet of adhesive. As Gollum would say, ‘I HATES them!’ Then, to top it off, I discovered during mid-application that the Warlord models have shields that are slightly smaller than the Foundry castings so the decals wouldn’t have fit on them in the first place... To say I lost my sh*t is perhaps overstating the case, but I came darn close. (My dogs, the poor fellas, scampered to another room to escape the blue fuge of my rage-filled cursing.) 

Anyway, I apologize for presenting some undecorated shields but I am SO DONE with these guys and I need to move on to something else. They will have to live with plain red planks until I can get some proper shield transfers in the New Year. Sigh. 'Nuff said.

30 points for me. (Harrumphs irritably as he stalks back to his hobby desk...)

From MikeP - A Beautiful Mind In A Terrible Place (5 Points)

Here's an entry that might fall under this year's theme of villains and antiheroes.  Or maybe not?  The sculpt is from Artizan, and I painted him while doing my Commando section.  On the Artizan website he's listed as "Captain Withnail" and is part of a pack called "Cadd's Commandos", which makes him sound pretty antiheroic.

I love the fact that the Artizan figures all seem to be characters in a story.   You see that here in the details of the sculpt - the bottle of uncorked champagne, the longer than regulation hair and the lack of any headdress, the revolver which with the bottle suggests instability and menace, and the non-regulation scarf.  I've painted him in standard British battledress and in an officer's British Warm greatcoat, based on the colouring of the 1950s era one I inherited.

Who is he?  What's he up to?   Care to guess? If you want to visit my blog in a day or so I'll put up some fluff to explain what he's doing in my Weird War Two "S Commando" force. For now, the only clue I'll give you is the title of this post, "A Beautiful Mind in a Terrible Place", and the fact that the non-regulation scarf he's wearing is painted in the colours of Trinity College, Cambridge.

I think this fellow gets me 5 points, for a total of 60 to mark my debut day on the scoreboard.

Blessings to your brushes, fellow Challengers!

Thanks so much for looking. MP

From Curt:Another wonderful figure from the Artizan range and you've done such a great job with him Mike. I particularly like the scarf in the college colours (nice touch) and the bottle of champagne (check out this interesting series of articles on the history of champagne during the Occupation). I'm sure many are eager to find out the mysterious past of this unconventional fellow...

From MilesR - 1/600 ACW Naval - The British Expeditionary Fleet (79 Points)

A fairly large 1/600 scale ACW naval submission with four ships and a fort.  The first photo shows all of the items completed so far for the Challenge - including the Hector (top ship), which was submitted earlier.

 First up is the British Flagship - the iconic HMS Warrior.  The Warrior was a huge ship and this is a huge model in 1/600 scale - it's 10.5 inches long!  Like the Hector, the model is scratch built based using a rather poor hull casting for the basic dimensions.  One modeling tip - a dremel rotary tool is a great addition to the scratch builders tool kit.

The Warrior is on display in Portsmouth and it's on my list of to do's during one of my frequent business trips to the UK.  Like the Hector, the Warrior is classed as a broadside frigate which means she was armored along the sides but her bow and stern were not.  Her armor was 114mm iron plate on top of 457mm of teak.  The ship's armament consisted of 36 x smoothbore 68 pounders, 10 x 110 pounders and 4 x 40 pounders - that was a lot of metal to throw in a single broadside.

One can see I listened to the comments on the Hector and the Warrior sports her name on the stern.

The Warrior was an extremely fast ship and was capable of sustaining 14 knots which was blazing fast for the age.  However her length and bulk limited her turning radius which could be problematic if an engagement occurred anywhere other than the open sea.

 The model itself is a resin hull that's been "planked" in plastic card,  The Masts are plastic rod with greenstuff making up the furled sails.  The life boats came from my bit's box and the davits are just bent brass rod.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how she came out.  Sometimes scratch building is the only way to complete a project.  It can be very rewarding but one has to go into to it with a mindset that the first few versions will need to be redone.  Ok, in my case there might be more that a few "re-done versions"

 Next up for the British is the HMS Scorpion.  The Scorpion has a very interesting history - she was laid down as the CSS North Carolina.  Unfortunately for her builders, it was illegal to sell warships to the Confederacy so they fabricated a ruse that the ship was being built for the Egyptian navy under the name "El Tousson".  During her delivery voyage to Egypt the plan was for the ship to turn to starboard rather than port near the Straights of Gibraltar and then raise the Confederate flag.  Unfortunately for the builders, the 'coppers figured out the scheme and she was seized and completed for the Royal Navy.

 The Scorpion / North Carolina was intended to be a commerce raider but she had a very low profile which made her harder to hit but also greatly reduced her sea handling capabilities.  In fact after a few years of service the Scorpion was relegated to costal defense duties, which is the nautical equivalent of a kid being kept inside the house on a sunny day to practice violin while his friends are all outside playing baseball.

The ship was armed with 4 x 9 inch guns in two rotating turrets.  The had a relatively low rate of fire but packed a real punch and had a long range.  Speed-wise she wasn't the fastest ship afloat but could make 10.5 knots on a calm day.

The model is from Thoroughbred Miniatures and is metal.  Thoroughbred makes the best 1/600 scale ironclads available.
Next up the the CSS Columbia which served towards the end of the war in Charleston Harbor. She really didn't have a distinguished career, but in my alternative ACW scenario the ship maybe have a bit more renown....

This model is also a metal kit from Thoroughbred, although kit might be stretching the definition as one just has to glue on the mast and smokestack and its' done!

 It's a nice model and has that iconic look of the Confederate ironclad.

 An updated shot of the Hector showing that her name has also been added to the model!  Your comments are my commands.
 A group shot of the British Expeditionary Fleet as it currently stands.  I'll be adding a few more ships and some targets oops I mean transports.
 A staged "action" shot showing the British fleet taking on some US ships - the New Ironsides and the Monitor.  The picture shows just how massive the Warrior was in it's day.

All of these models will be used as part of a linked two day game I'll be putting on at Historicon in July of 2015.  The first day will feature a naval battle "somewhere along the Chesapeake" that pits a US force against a combine British / CSA fleet that's trying to force a landing to relieve a trapped Confederate army.  The outcome of the naval engagement will impact the second days game which will be a large land battle in 28mm.  If the British/CSA players are successful, the game will feature an assault by the combined CSA/ BEF on an entrenched Union army.  If they are unsuccessful during Day 1, the British army will have landed further down from the Rebels and the game will feature a Union Assault on the Confederate position with the British racing to rescue their allies.  Think Waterloo with the Union as the French, the Confederates as the British and the British as the Prussians... confusing? that's what I'm looking for.  I have found that adding an additional goal (other than winning) to a convention game does a great job in keeping everyone focused.  Oh yes, the composition of the British army during the second battle will also be influenced if any of the transports are damaged or sunk during day one.

 Speaking of the French, the game will feature a small French fleet sulking about.  Neither side will really know that fleet's intentions because, well, you know, they're French.  The flagship of the French fleet will be the Gloire.  This ship was launched in 1859 and has the distinction of being the first ocean going ironclad (much to the chagrin of the Royal Navy).  The model is yet again from Thoroughbred and is superb.

 The Gloire could reach a sustained speed of 11 knots and was armed with 36 6.5 inch muzzle loading rifled guns - ship mounted rifled cannon where not all that common in this age and gave the Gloire a distinct range advantage.
 The ship also had a very unusual lattice armor structure with a layer of iron ontoo of teak followed by another layer of iron and then yet more teak.  The cumulative depth of the iron sheeting was less than her British counterparts but the armor proved to be much stronger - it could shrug off a direct hit from a British 68 pounder at a range of 20 meters.
 The model itself is substantive and is over 5.5 inches long.  While hard to see the details around the conning tower (just in front of the mizzen mast) are extremely well done.

 The last part of the overly long submission is a Fort.  The casting comes from Bay Area Yards and is modeled on Fort Jackson in New Orleans. The fort is similar to both Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan which guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay and I spent many a day scrambling over both in my youth.

 Civil War forts featured fearsome guns which were more accurate than their ship board foes (because forts generally don't bob up and down with the seas).
 Lots' of guns....

One can question the degree to which a fort is a miniature or a terrain piece.  Given the rules that I'll be using have forts as game elements with their own damage sheets and ability to shoot at the enemy, I'm taking the liberty of submitting this as a miniature.  Of course, the final dispensation of my humble fort is up to the will of our benevolent Lord High Paint Challenge Commissioner and I shall abide by his ruling no matter how unfair, capricious and biased it my be.  (just like the Dude, I abide!)

Well there you have it - lots of ships, way too many words and a fort.  As for scoring, yet again I submit to will of our Dear Leader and hope he gazes favorably upon my unworthy offerings.

From Curt:
Beautiful work Miles. I'm really enjoying your foray into this new project, but this is far outstripped by how impressed I am of your scratchbuilding of these amazing ships.  
I'll match the 20 points I previously awarded for the for the scratchbuilt 'Hector' to the HMS 'Warrior' as well.  Absolutely beautiful work - bravo.
The other three ships I'll give 15 points each. 
The fort is a complete squeeze but I do appreciate the effort. Nonetheless, no matter how you slice it it's still a piece of terrain.  BUT I will meet you part way. By the Challenge rules guns are worth a certain amount of points, depending on their scale.  So with a 1/600 scale gun counting as .5 points your 27 artillery pieces will give you 14 points (I'll round up the half point for the cheek of it).  
So, the grand total is 79 points. Well done Mr. Reidy! 

From MikeP - Going Commando (55 Points)

Hello all.  I'm Michael Peterson, aka The Mad Padre, and for is my first entry in this year's challenge, I offer ten 28mm Artizan WW2 British Commandos.  This was my first time painting Artizan figures and I quite enjoyed working with them - they reward careful brushwork and they have a lot of character.  By comparison, I was also working on a dozen Warlord plastic commandos (not eligible since I started them before the Challenge) and there is no comparison.  The Artizan figures win hands down in my opinion.

I won't bore you extensively with the backstory, though you can find some of it here and elsewhere using the Weird War Two tags in my blog, but in brief these fellows are going to be part of an Allied force for an ongoing Weird War Two project.    Instead of concentrating on gear and SF in 1945+ as a lot of Weird War stuff tends to do, I am focusing on the very early war and on occult aspects.  Against a sinister cabal of SS, vampires, werewolves, and mad scientists, the British have assembled a top secret team called Project Alice, which includes scientists, scholars, clergymen, detectives, and adventurers from the Colonies. To give force protection for the staff of Project Alice, a small team of Special Forces, known as S Commando (S for Supernatural, of course) has been stood up.  It is an elite and secret force, totally off the books of the War Ministry, reporting to Churchill himself.  

NCOs and Bren gunner:

Advancing to the attack:

Some chaps with heavy combat loads.  I didn't research this extensively, but the replica bergens I've seen online are a darker green than this.  Oh well, in my world it's early war and the issued kit is irregular.

Practicing all-round defence in case of attack by zombies or werewolves:

Finally, since I had a sniper figure from the Great War Miniatures British Character set left over, I thought I would add him to S Commando.  That ghillie suit will come in useful. Hopefully he can find some silver bullets?

Eleven 28mm figures should count for 55 points.  Many thanks for looking!

From Curt:
First, welcome to this year's Challenge Mike! It's great to have you aboard with us. These fellows look marvellous and I really enjoyed reading their back story. I seem to remember that you entered several other characters from your Weird War Two setting in a previous Challenge, notably the lovely Agent Katana who was staking out a raucous Oktoberfest - great stuff. I completely agree with you regarding the Artizan range as I've found them to be a real pleasure to work with (and quite easy to paint). I look forward to some more Pulp entries from you over the coming months.

From Millsy - 15mm WWII Italian Heavy AA (52 Points)

My second effort this week is a battery of WWII Italian Heavy Anti-aircraft guns from the African theatre. These are Battlefront 15mm models are overall quite fun to assemble and paint.

The 90/53 gun was a towed heavy anti-aircraft weapon very similar to the German 88mm gun. Like the German equivalent it could also be employed in both an AA and an anti-armour role. You can see the kit comes with the axles and wheels should you choose to assemble it in towed form. I can't imagine many people would do that as they look much more menacing deployed for action. Having done that I still wanted to use the wheels so I've painted and based them to sit alongside on the table.

I've also painted up a couple of optional ammunition trucks to go along with the battery. These are resin models and really well sculpted and also fun to paint.

2 x guns, 16 x crew and 2 x vehicles gets me 52 points in total for a nice little boost to my tally. There's plenty more desert themed WWII to come from me so stay tuned.

On a vaguely related note, that scoundrel DaveD has challenged me to another side duel. The first of us to reach 1250 points will receive from the other some painted goodness or a goody bag of locally sourced lead to add to the pile. Seeing as my two entries today sends me back up above him on the tally I say challenge accepted! :-)

From Curt:
Oh, these are very nice Millsy and a startling shift from your recent entries - I confess I'm suffering a bit of whiplash from this! 
Like you, I really like seeing these guns deployed on their platforms as it' has allowed you to have all the crew deployed around them, attending to their various duties.  Very cool.
As Millsy mentions, we are witnessing a very brisk competition for top billing on the points roster. When Dave and Millsy were hammering out their challenge yesterday I jokingly said that I would enter it into 'The Book of Flung Handbags'. Well, Millsy being Millsy took the remark and ran with it:
Classic. As he suggests, I may have take this as impetus to make a special page on the blog to list our paint duels and side challenges.
Again, great work Millsy. 

From KevinH - 28mm WWII US Paratroopers (30 Points)

I picked up a portable "photo booth" last year.  Unfortunately, it came with the new "twirly" bulbs, and they've made my pics look pretty crap - even with some Photoshop tweaking.  I'm a bit sad about this...  I think I will go back to my old method of snapping pics.  I've still got regular bulbs, so I might try swapping out the "twirly" bulbs for regulars in the booth...

So - my first post (outside of the Fortnight post the other day), will be for some Bolt Action/Warlord "US Airborne" models, in 28mm.  I painted five Riflemen in the last Challenge, and I'm determined to get more of these guys done this time!  Here are a couple of "Officer" types, a Bazooka team, and an LMG team (Light Machine Gun, for the uninitiated)..

(please excuse the shoddy pics - I will endevour to do better next time.  Those pics from last year's Challenge look SO much nicer...)

Here are the Officer figures.  The first has a pistol and Carbine rifle, the second has an M1 Garand rifle.  He also has a pair of binoculars, so could double as a Forward Observer, I guess.


This is the Bazooka team.  Is it just me, or does that Bazooka seem a bit tiny...?  As much as I love Paul Hicks sculpting, there were a few things that didn't turn out so well - this Bazooka being one of them.  He also seemed to do rather small MP40 sub-machine guns on the Germans.

And lastly, the Light Machine Gun team - moving to a better firing position.

You'll be seeing more of these figures over the coming weeks.  I picked up the "Lt. Winters" special edition figure Warlord produced a few months back, plus I've also got two Airborne jeeps, a Mortar team, and a Pack Howitzer team, as well as a few more Riflemen.

After painting the first few in the last Challenge, I've gotten over my 'hang-up' of trying to paint these guys!  So I look forward to continuing the efforts.  The same could probably be said about all the British Airborne figures I have - but those damn Denison smocks really DO give me a mental block!

Thanks for looking!

From Curt:Nice work Kevin! You've done a great job on these sculpts  though I think your lighting is stealing some of the show from us. (FYI: I've found wamth-adjustable LEDs work very well for booth photography.) The bazooka may look a bit small but it actually wasn't a very large weapon as it only fired a 2.36 inch rocket. Here are a couple period photos of two variants of the bazooka:

I think Hicks' sculpt, while perhaps a bit foreshortened, is not far off.
Again, great work Kevin. I look forward to seeing more of these along with your Lt. Winters sometime in the coming months.

From MarkO - 28mm Napoleonic Austrian Cuirassiers (242 Points)

Hi I'm Mark from New Zealand (blogger name Chasseur) and this is my first time in this Challenge - and my first real entry! A couple of regiments of 28mm Austrian Cuirassiers from Perry Miniatures Napoleonic range. Great figures. I thought about leaving them for next weeks "mounts and riders" theme, but I should have something else lined up for that.

First regiment with red facings. I tend to prefer "swords shouldered" with metal cavalry as it protects the swords better when gaming. For the same reason I replace standards, lances etc with brass or other wire, as with the standard here. 

A couple of shots from the rear. (Back half of the collar should really be white according to most references I have, but I realised this after I had already painted them and decided to leave them for now, as I preferred the look instead of yet more white! I might touch them up later. Heresy I know!)

Blue facings on the second regiment.

One last look at both regiments! (In the background lurks another entry in process!)

So all up I believe this lot is 240 points.

From Curt:
How wonderful, another stonking Napoleonic entry for us today! These two regiments look just fabulous Mark. I really like the punchy colour palette you've used (the sprigs of edelweiss on their helmets are particularly vibrant) and your groundwork sets it all off beautifully. Oh, and
 I'm adding a couple points to your tally for the two regimental standards.
Welcome aboard Mark! I, along with many others I'm sure, look forward to seeing your upcoming efforts during the next few months.